Having been on the injured reserve since November 18th, it appears that defenseman for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pierre-Olivier Joseph, is healthy enough to return, as the team announced they have sent Joseph on a conditioning loan to their AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He will now be in the AHL for a maximum of 14 days, meaning he will have the opportunity to play in five games in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
Last season, Joseph looked to have finally cracked the Penguins roster full-time, playing in 75 games and scoring five goals and 21 points. He did spend a couple of games factoring into Pittsburgh’s powerplay, while also providing solid possession and defensive metrics as well.
With fellow defenseman Chad Ruhwedel set to miss a few weeks with a lower-body injury, the Penguins could certainly use the return of Joseph as soon as possible. Even upon return, with Pittsburgh already carrying a more than adequate top-four in their defensive core, the return of Joseph will allow the team to be more comfortable giving their bottom-pairing important minutes of the game.
- Although the two did play in the New York Islanders’ most recent game only three days ago, forward Brock Nelson and defenseman Noah Dobson were absent in yesterday’s practice and were listed as day-to-day with undisclosed concerns. Nevertheless, the team announced today that both players would be in the lineup for tonight’s game, while also indicating that defenseman Sebastian Aho is close to making his return as well. It is positive news for New York, who even though it might only be for a game or two, can not afford to miss two of their better offensive players.
- Team reporter for the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jeff Svoboda, reports that defenseman Erik Gudbranson will be a game-time decision for the team’s game tonight against the Los Angeles Kings, as he is suffering from an illness. Mostly known as a defensive-style defenseman, even with less ice time per night, Gudbranson is producing better offensively this year for the Blue Jackets, scoring two goals and nine points in 26 games.
- Missing the last three games for the New York Rangers with an undisclosed injury, it does not appear forward Kaapo Kakko is close to a return. After practice today, Mollie Walker of the New York Post reported that Kakko has not yet resumed skating. After seemingly having a breakout season last year, Kakko is once again failing to produce up to his draft selection, scoring one goal and three points through 20 games this season.